Review by Ian Keogh
So much of Friends & Fugitives is dependent on a tragedy that also sparked the events of Who Is Superwoman?, although it wasn’t actually shown there. It did feature in the repackaging of that volume as Daughter of New Krypton, and the fallout greatly impacts on Supergirl’s life. It’s caused a schism between her and her mother, not entirely addressed in an early chapter here, and left a murderer on the loose.
Sterling Gates collaborates with Greg Rucka writing most of these chapters. The early episodes introduce Nightwing and Flamebird from Superman’s continuity along with their being framed for murder. In the broader continuity, military hawk General Lane has emerged from the shadows, and anti-Kryptonian feeling is being inflamed across Earth.
While Jamal Igle remains the primary artist, several others draw individual chapters, all working in a broad superhero style, but with their individual approaches. Pere Pérez is slightly stiffer, while Fernando Dagnino is more inclined to have the costumes pulled tight around women. However, considering the story uses so many different artists, there’s no great shocks as the illustration transfers from one to the next.
The sense of Supergirl being just one part of a bigger picture concerning events both in Metropolis and New Krypton hangs over Friends & Fugitives, as revelations are thrown in as the story continues. It’s still good superhero action with the subplots efficiently handled, but not quite as strong as the previous collection. Where it works best is during the desperate battle with Reactron, a callous killer well equipped to deal with Kryptonians. Gates and Rucka have one big surprise to drop, and the final chapter brings the plots to a close. The conclusion is interesting, a massive compromise prioritising duty above justice and again playing into the larger picture.